The Right Way to Research Your Next Job Candidate | WorkSmart Systems is a Professional Employer Organization (PEO)


The Right Way to Research Your Next Job Candidate


While it’s always important to do some research on a job candidate before an interview, be wary of conducting personal internet searches that dig too deep into a person’s private life. Research should help a recruiter learn more about the candidate’s skills and experience rather than using search engines and social media networks to discover social connections or past events attended. In this post we dive into more detail about the risks associated with conducting too much social network research on  potential job candidates.

What you do know can hurt you  

Even in this day and age, candidates may be shocked when they learn that potential employers are looking at their social media footprint to learn more about them. Even though information in the public domain is fair game, companies should be careful about what they search for and how far they go with the information. It’s likely that employers will find personal details that could be used (or perceived to be used) in making hiring decisions.

While many organizations do have legitimate reasons for knowing more about a candidate’s “extra-curricular” activities, this knowledge often can do more harm than good. While it would be useful to know that an applicant for an addiction counselor position just posted pictures on Instagram of himself binge drinking, there are bad things that can happen as a result of a pre-hire investigation.

Potential claims of discrimination

Perhaps the most concerning aspect of a pre-hire internet search is the possibility of a discrimination claim by an applicant who did not get a job offer. Applicants that were turned away could easily assume it was because of race, age, sex, etc., all information which the employer can generally ascertain through an internet search.

For example, if a tech company received a resume that stood out, they would typically not know much information about the candidate besides what the candidate provided. However, as soon as that hiring manager searches for the candidate online, photos and additional information might reveal the potential employee’s religion or race. Even if the candidate isn’t a fit for the company for a different reason, not hiring that particular applicant could lead to a charge of discrimination, especially if there seems to be a pattern.

When in doubt, hire out

If you need help to develop your procedure before you begin the hiring and interview process, reach out to our team for professional advice. By working with us, you can ensure your process is compliant with employment-related legislation and is sensitive to your business operations.


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